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10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes

09.28.17

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10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes

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  • Hiking up Cadillac Mountain.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Crushed gravel path along Jesup Path. - 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Rocky headlands along Ship Harbor Trail. - 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Views from Champlain Mountain.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Final climb up Beehive Loop Trail.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Rocky coast by Ocean Path. - 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Hiking an extension of Gorham Mountain Trail.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Part of the climb to Beech Cliff Trail.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Views from Beech Mountain Fire Tower.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
  • Pink granite boulders on Otter Point.- 10 of Acadia National Park's Best Day Hikes
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Acadia National Park is a place that begs to be explored on foot. From its lush New England greenery to its wild north-Maine shorelines, Acadia offers a slew of great trails for both the casual and serious day-hiker. 

So leave the crowds of Bar Harbor behind and journey up one of the many paths for ocean views and rugged cliff adventures. Bring binoculars for bird-watching or just pack a picnic on any one of these worthy day trips. 

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail

Hike up Acadia’s tallest mountain in any season (but winter) for stunning views of the park and plenty of peregrine falcon sightings. Starting at sea level, this trail takes you all the way to the summit (with 1380 feet of elevation gain) over the course of 7 miles. Cedar grove forests, rocky face steps, and a quaint pond await.

Ship Harbor Trail​

An easy hike that includes ocean views and bird-watching. This 1.8-mile forest jaunt is a simple loop trail that highlights some Acadia’s best wildlife: great blue heron, osprey, and bustling tidal pools. Pack in a snack and stop for a picnic by the rocky headlands.

Jesup Path

Probably the best introductory hike to Acadia, this 2-mile out-and-back route takes hikers along a charming boardwalk path in the forest and opens out into a meadow buzzing with wildlife. Complete with informational displays, and located nearby visitor centers, it’s a good way to start or end any outdoor Acadia excursion.

Champlain Mountain via South Ridge Trail

Hike up to Acadia’s second highest peak, with the added bonus of increased seclusion. Much less packed than other out-and-backs in the area, this 5-mile trail boasts amazing ocean views as well as sweeping panoramas of neighboring peaks. Try this trail on a dry day, as any moisture can make the footing tricky.

Beehive Loop Trail

A short but fast-paced trail for the adventurous hiker, this hike has you clinging to iron rungs drilled into bedrock and climbing up boulders along the cliff. While no formal rock climbing experience is necessary (although the trail may not be suitable for kiddos), this short and punchy route is perfect for those craving an adrenaline rush.

Ocean Path

A 2 mile rugged coastal trail that’s great for a few hours of exploring. Hike past tidal pools with crashing waves, then past favorite spots like Sand Beach, Otter Point, and Otter Cliff. This trail is a favorite among visitors so be prepared to share it with the crowds.

Gorham Mountain Trail

A great option for those seeking distance, this trail can be easily paired with Ocean Path or Beehive Loop to add a few extra miles. Winding through rocky forest paths and coming out into breathtaking ocean views, this busy trail is a good way to see a lot of Mount Desert Island at once.

Beech Cliff Trail

A thrilling and less-trafficked trail featuring ladders and light climbing along the west side of Mount Desert Island. Beginning at Echo Lake, hikers will soon reach the first climbing section of many. If the climb is too much, alternatives are available near the trailhead. Be sure to attempt this one on dry days as the ladders can be hazardous when wet.

Beech Mountain Fire Tower

At the top of Beech Mountain sits a historic fire tower—and a number of trails leading up to it. Most trails are steep and involve a bit of climbing or scrambling, but the views by the tower make it all worth it.

Otter Point and Otter Cliffs

This hiking destination is all about the rocks: rocks for climbing and for viewing. Historic structures like the Spindle can be seen from shore, and the 110-foot Otter Cliff is a favorite among rock climbers. Hike along Ocean Path to reach this striking destination and opt for a sunrise or sunset trip to admire the colors along the jagged cliffs and boulders.  

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